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Lemon Rhubarb Mascarpone Mousse Cake

Rhubarb Mousse Cake-Copyright©Tartelette 2008Yes, another rhubarb post…it’s the season and I just can’t get enough….Sorry folks! When Marcela was planning her visit, one of her wishes was to get some rhubarb and Meyer lemons so we could bake something with them. She also wanted to keep the seeds of the lemon to grow her own tree back in Argentina. We searched everywhere for both to no avail and decided to stick with our original plan to make macarons instead. She did a fabulous job with the latter and I hope that macarons have no secret for her now and I got to tell you, buttercream and dulce de leche go really really well together!!

After dropping her off at the airport, B. and I headed for the farmers' market downtown and guess what I found by the bucket….rhubarb!!! Arghhhhh…..Wish I had it growing in the backyard but one has to do with what they have, right?! I need to add that since I mentioned I had found Loquat trees everywhere downtown, one of my clients told me she had her own tree and I was most welcome to head over her house and pick what I wanted. I did this afternoon and stopped at three bags full. Do you think I have enough fruit if you add the four pounds of strawberry that Marcela and I picked at a local farm yesterday afternoon?!!! There are going to be some fruity desserts coming up!!

This is the dessert I wanted to make for her had I found rhubarb before her arrival….alas, or as B. would say "Yum, more for me", this mousse cake is going to be dessert for us tonight. So here is to you Pip, as a thank you for a wonderful time in your company and especially last night at the restaurant where I don’t recall ever laughing so hard in my life…and it involved another woman kissing my husband….

For the mousse I used the same recipe I used for the Raspberry and Mascarpone Mousse Cakes, back in March. I replaced the lime with lemon and added cooked rhubarb to the mousse base. I don’t really have a recipe to cook the rhubarb but I usually go for 1 cup of fruit to 1/3 cup sugar, cooked over low heat until the rhubarb softens and I still get chunks of fruit in there. The cake ring surrounding the mousse looks complicated and involved, but really it isn’t. It is made with an almond cake batter very similar to ones used for jelly rolls called "ribbon sheet cake" or Joconde and a tuile cookie batter (also known as tulip paste) piped onto the baking sheet before you pour in the cake batter so while baking it leaves an imprint on your cake. If it were rocket science I would not be doing it….trust me. It is not more time consuming than baking a cake and I find the whole process tremendously more fun given the end result.

I went for stripes but you can easily make squiggles, lace patterns, dots, smileys, etc….It is best to prepare both the mousse and the cake early in the day if you plan to serve this for dinner as the cake needs to cool and the mousse needs to set, and you can keep them in the freezer for a month or so if you decide to make them way in advance. For a velvety effect on top, I mix powdered sugar and cherry pink food coloring on top and dust the cakes with it right before serving. Do not do this in advance as your powdered sugar will melt and sink in the mousse due to its moisture content.

Rhubarb Mousse Cake-Copyright©Tartelette 2008
Lemon Rhubarb Mascarpone Mousse Cake:

Printable Recipe

For the tulip paste:
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup egg whites, at room temperature
4 ounces all purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 Tb cocoa powder.

Cream the butter and powdered sugar together in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together and add to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated. Do not overmix. Use right away or store in the refrigerator, taking it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it.
Pour the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a ruler set on top of the sheet as your guide, pipe lines with the tulip paste onto the parchment paper, or any shape you desire. You can also smooth a large amount of the paste on the paper and using a ruler set on the rim of the pan, use a decorator comb to drag on the batter to form lines. When I make somewhat straight lines, this is the method I use, and I use the pastry bag method for lace patterns and others. Set the baking sheet in the freezer until the tulip paste is firm. Keep frozen until you are ready to pour the cake batter on top.

For the ribbon sheet cake:
4 ounces finely ground almonds (I used slivered)
3 ounces powdered sugar
1 ounce all purpose flour
4 eggs
1 egg yolk
3 egg whites
1 ounce granulated sugar
1 ounce melted unsalted butter

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the almonds, powdered sugar, flour and 2 eggs until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of your bowl with a spatula and add the remaining 2 eggs and the yolk until well combined. Set aside.
Whip the egg whites in a separate bowl until they appear foamy, add the granulated sugar in a steady stream and whip until you get a glossy meringue. Fold the meringue mixture into the egg/flour mixture. Stir in the melted butter and fold until all the ingredients are well incorporated but without deflating your meringue base.

Remove the baking sheet with the tulip paste from the freezer and pour the cake batter on top. Bake at 450F for about 6-8 minutes or until the sponge becomes to color. Remove from the oven, let cool a few minutes and invert your cake onto a piece of parchment paper. Peel the baking paper. Let cool before using. You can keep it wrapped in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for a month. Bring it back to room temperature before you fit it in the pastry rings. Line 6-8 pastry rings (depending on their size, mine are 3 inches wide) with parchment paper, cut 1.5 inches wide strips of cake and cut them to fit around the inside of your rings. Divide the mousse inside the rings and let set.

For the mousse:
1 egg, separated
2 TB sugar
2 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
75 ml. heavy cream
1 tsp. powdered gelatin (1/2 sheet) + 1 Tb water
zest and juice of one lemon
1 cup cooked rhubarb

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, stir and let sit to bloom. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the mascarpone with the sugar, add 1 egg yolk and whisk until well incorporated. Heat the gelatin for about 10 seconds in the microwave and quickly whisk it in the mascarpone batter. Add the lemon juice and zest. Whip the egg white until stiff, fold into the mascarpone mixture. Add the cooked rhubarb. Whip the heavy cream to medium stiff peaks, and fold into the mascarpone. Divide it evenly and carefully among the pastry rings. Store in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours or overnight.

Granted it takes a tad longer than a baking brownies but it is just as fun and as good, and if you like playing with shapes, batters and let your imagination run wild, this is a good project to tackle in the kitchen. The end result is so tasty you won’t be disappointed!

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Peabody May 3, 2008 um 10:16 pm

Too bad for Marcela that there was no rhubarb or meyer lemons(though I haven’t seen meyers in weeks). Had I know she wanted to try rhubarb I would have made her something…we have a lot of it these days.
The mousse cake looks beautiful!

Rosa's Yummy Yums May 3, 2008 um 10:27 pm

So pretty and refined! A wonderful combination of flavors!



Bridget May 3, 2008 um 10:29 pm

Those are so beautiful!

Jerry May 3, 2008 um 10:42 pm

They are gorgeous! Wonderful combo, too!

Anonymous May 3, 2008 um 10:42 pm

-Gorgeous-! And I have to say, I’m completely envious of your hoard of fruits. There’s hardly anything growing wild locally, and even the rhubarb in the grocery store has been looking pale and rotten. What I wouldn’t give for your luck!

LizNoVeggieGirl May 3, 2008 um 11:16 pm

No need to apologize – I LOVE rhubarb!! :0)

Wow, that Lemon-Rhubarb-Mascarpone Mousse Cake is not only gorgeous, but such a lovely treat that you made in Marcela’s honor. Love it!

steph- whisk/spoon May 3, 2008 um 11:32 pm

yum! i love rhubarb so much, and it doesn’t seem to have a season here in australia. it’s the middle of fall, and i just bought two bunches of thin, deep red stalks at the big monthly farmer’s market in sydney yesterday.

Anonymous May 3, 2008 um 11:38 pm

That looks fabulous!

Cannelle Et Vanille May 4, 2008 um 12:17 am

Too bad she couldn’t get rhubarb while she was with you!! And please, don’t apologize for delighting us with another rhubarb recipe…. I love it. In fact, I still have several rhubarb recipes to post myself. I can’t get enough and I will making the best of it until cherry season! Love the velvety effect!

Coffee and Vanilla May 4, 2008 um 12:48 am

looks amazing! 🙂

Unknown May 4, 2008 um 2:20 am

I have a few rhubarb questions. What would be the best way to cook rhubarb for this recipe? How much fresh makes 1 cup cooked? And how much mousse does this ultimately yield? (If you know)

Manggy May 4, 2008 um 3:01 am

Those look absolutely gorgeous! I have some tulip paste is the freezer but I’ve always been scared to make cake ribbons– they might be too thick, they might break as I roll them, etc.. Did you use a 10×15 sheet?
*sigh* I wish I had individual molds too :O

Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict….You Decide May 4, 2008 um 3:03 am

I will take a dozen

Laurie May 4, 2008 um 3:12 am

OH MY! That looks gorgeous..It’s so easy to imagine scooping in to this! 🙂

Anonymous May 4, 2008 um 3:56 am

Wow…. muuuch fancier than the rhubarb crostata I made tonight. That looks delightful!

RecipeGirl May 4, 2008 um 4:06 am

I love the squiggly stripes. Those are gorgeous!

Susan @ SGCC May 4, 2008 um 4:44 am

Another mini-masterpiece! I am in awe of your beautiful creations! Truly gorgeous!

Pixie May 4, 2008 um 6:42 am

Simply beautiful- bursting with flavour. Have you ever written your own baking cookbook? I’d be the first on line to buy one.

Joanna May 4, 2008 um 9:26 am

SO beautiful … love those stripes


adli May 4, 2008 um 11:49 am


i wanted to ask some questions to you but i can’t seem to find your email. here’s mine: [email protected]

Astrid May 4, 2008 um 12:38 pm

Gorgeous! I feel tempted to try, I love the playfulness of the striped cake! I wonder why it’s called tulip paste…

Anonymous May 4, 2008 um 1:51 pm

Absolutely gorgeous! And your striped joconde turned out so much better than my first attempt – but I’ve sworn to get a proper pastry comb and try again, the fork just didn’t 'cut the mustard' 🙂

Deborah May 4, 2008 um 3:02 pm

It’s simply gorgeous!

Natalie, aka "Sheltie Girl" May 4, 2008 um 3:11 pm

How utterly delicious looking! I’m so glad you had a wonderful time with Pip.

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

Melita May 4, 2008 um 3:25 pm

I love desserts that are pretty! I always try to deliver taste, and attractiveness with everything I make, especially desserts. This is something I am definitely putting on my ‘to try list‘.

Love, love your blog, and with this post, you have made my day, and I am presenting you with "you make my day" award!

Anonymous May 4, 2008 um 4:37 pm

So glad you both had such a good time. I must have bought the last of the rhubarb in Charleston! I dare say it killed me to pay $4.99/lb for it, when my daughter has tons of it growing in her back yard in Alaska. Lovely dessert as uusual.

Anonymous May 4, 2008 um 5:52 pm

Wow Wow Wow!!!

They look stunning and so tasty too.

toontz May 4, 2008 um 5:53 pm

Absolutely beautiful! I love rhubarb, too, but it won’t be showing up in my neck of the woods for awhile. I am going to bookmark this recipe to have on hand when that time comes. Good job!

MyKitchenInHalfCups May 4, 2008 um 6:33 pm

When am I going to get to make these? They do look like wonderful fun and even better eating!
Sorry the rhubarb didn’t turn up for Marcella, doesn’t seem right.

Cannelle Et Vanille May 4, 2008 um 6:37 pm

By the way, Helen, I forgot to mention it before… that is wonderful that you added a printable recipe function. You should definitely try to publish all these recipes. You have the followers for sure and so many wonderful recipes. You must!!! I’ll be the first one in line for the book signing!!

Emily May 4, 2008 um 6:56 pm

Well, that looks beautiful! I don’t know how you do it.

I’m going to the grocery store right now, to buy some rhubarb.

Nicole May 4, 2008 um 7:09 pm

So beautiful. These would go like hot cakes for a shower or ladies event!

Anonymous May 4, 2008 um 7:18 pm

Wowser! I mean, it’s masterpiece! Too pretty to eat!

Amelia May 4, 2008 um 8:28 pm

What an inventive way to use rhubarb! I absolutely love the stuff and wish it were readily available up here in Alaska!

Wonderful presentation!

food makes me happy May 4, 2008 um 9:51 pm

This is so pretty!
So pretty that I wanna display those in the house!

Anonymous May 4, 2008 um 9:52 pm

How beautiful, Helene. The zebra pattern is mesmerising, and the little pink top really lights the whole thing up.

La cuisine des 3 soeurs May 4, 2008 um 10:12 pm

Comme j’aimerai passer de l’autre côté de l’écran, non de…l’océan.

Anonymous May 4, 2008 um 10:59 pm

Wow, this looks absolutely amazing! beautiful patterns. I am a bit intimidated to try:) but I will save it in my 'to do" list.

Evelin May 4, 2008 um 11:05 pm

I really love the stripes. This is an idea I’d like to play with. and right now…I’d like to stripe everything. Thanks;)

Bron May 4, 2008 um 11:50 pm

Super 'purdy' – you’re so clever!

LyB May 4, 2008 um 11:53 pm

The texture of that mousse sounds delightful and the striping technique is fabulous. The effect is stunning, such a chic dessert!

Anonymous May 4, 2008 um 11:55 pm

I definitely love the stripes! I’ve yet to cook with rhubarb this spring and am looking forward to it. I’m not sure if I’m talented to make your beautiful dessert! You really inspire us with your creations, your photography and your writing!

PheMom May 5, 2008 um 12:31 am

I absolutely love this idea and technique. It looks amazing. Hopefully I can find a good ocassion to use it soon. If I can’t well… I’ll just make something up!

Jen Yu May 5, 2008 um 1:08 am

That is gorgeous! And even if it WERE rocket science, I bet you’d still be a master at it 🙂 So don’t sell yourself short, lady!

Anonymous May 5, 2008 um 1:30 am

You never cease to amaze me. Seriously beautiful!! Wow!

monica May 5, 2008 um 2:18 am

beautiful helen!! i love the stripes on the cake. and rhubarb and lemon…such a delightful combination.

Brittany May 5, 2008 um 7:31 am

Beautiful as always!
I’m on my 2nd rhubarb post of the season and I know there will be more….but it’s so dang tasty, and there isn’t much else out there until our local strawberries arrive! That feels like a lifetme from now.

Katie May 5, 2008 um 8:39 am

They look wonderful. Thanks for sharing the tip on how to make the swirled cake layer, it makes it look so special.

Lori May 5, 2008 um 12:07 pm

Okay that is not fair, leaving us hanging like a Soap Opera. The nerve I tell yah!

I saw your post on Tastespotting and I was in a hurry to find out more about the beet chips so I did not have a chance to look. I came to your site to find out what you were up to and there it was. I might have known it was you with another fabulous dessert. Girl, you should be filthy rich with your amazing talent. Pierre Herme who? All I know is Helen Tartelette!

Katy May 5, 2008 um 3:20 pm

my goodness. every time i come to your blog i’m intimidated and also so excited to try one of your recipes! i’m printing this one out now so that i don’t chicken out (hopefully). it looks amazing, and i have all the ingrdients on hand except rhubarb and pastry rings — and i have been looking for a good excuse to buy both!!!

Kelly-Jane May 5, 2008 um 3:49 pm

Beautiful little cakes 🙂

P.S. I’ve tagged you Helene.

Julie May 5, 2008 um 4:18 pm

Those are the most beautiful cakes! I’m itching to get my hands on some good-looking rhubard. The stuff at the market looks like its been sitting on the shelf for too many weeks.

That Girl May 5, 2008 um 4:48 pm

I’m excited for your fruity desserts! Summer is the perfect time for fresh fruit

Patricia Scarpin May 5, 2008 um 5:18 pm

That is one great looking dessert, dear Helen!
I’d almost hesitate to dive in. 😉

Honeyed Hashette May 5, 2008 um 6:07 pm

Again- you have outdone yourself. This is SO BEAUTIFUL!
If I say "pretty please" will you mail me one?

Bridal Magic May 5, 2008 um 7:12 pm

Wow! Those look amazing! A sweet work of art 🙂

Anonymous May 5, 2008 um 10:00 pm

Sorry to be thick – I’ve read the instruction twice and I’m still not sure how you got the lines into your batter. Was this the cake comb method?

My apologies. I have a brutal cold and nothing seems to be working properly.

Helene May 6, 2008 um 12:34 am

Dana: no problem, we both have those days. I used a comb but a pastry bag works just as well.

Cakebrain May 6, 2008 um 5:17 am

Zowie! what a cool project! I so want to make this because it looks so beautiful and delicious!

Mike of Mike's Table May 6, 2008 um 12:05 pm

That really looks fantastic. I’m always floored by your desserts, not only for how amazing I think they taste, but for the care you put into such beautiful plating and presentation. And I say keep the rhubarb coming–there can never be too much of it!

Gretchen Noelle May 6, 2008 um 12:42 pm

Beyond adorable!!

Botacook May 6, 2008 um 5:03 pm

Mmmh, un entremet qui doit être bien acidulé comme j’aime!

Anonymous May 7, 2008 um 3:14 am

the stripey cake is too cool for school.

Half Baked May 7, 2008 um 12:03 pm

I’m so intrigued by these little cakes,they are beautiful. We have tons of rhubarb at our family farm right now, so I’ve got to give this recipe a try! Love the stripes!

Susan from Food Blogga May 8, 2008 um 12:05 am

Um, there is absolutely nothing to apologize for with this recipe, Helen!

Mrs.French May 8, 2008 um 4:29 am

definitely one of the prettiest cakes I have ever seen. Your sweet blog is wonderful…I can’t wait to come back!

Vanillaorchid May 8, 2008 um 11:36 am

wowwwwwwwww…they are so fabulous, I love the ribbon sheet.

Anonymous May 8, 2008 um 7:50 pm

Wow, they look gorgeous, they are so perfect really incredible!
I love to visit blog like your; I have to write down all the ingredients I need to try one of your recipe, I know that the effect will not be like your but I can’t wait.
My compliments for the photos too.
Thanks for the comments in my new little blog, and very happy You found my napkin rings nice.

Mandy May 8, 2008 um 11:01 pm

thanks for the inspiration, Helen. After reading so much about rhubarb, I finally bought some last Sat, and made my first batch of cooked rhubarb just now! It’s so tasty!!! I hope there’s still some more in the market this week.

Sakorarox January 11, 2009 um 4:45 pm

How exactly do you get those lovely stripes?!:) Ive always wondered how ppl do that!

thanks a lot!


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